The family behind OxyContin looked into profiting from solving the crisis they helped cause


After its opioid painkiller helped cause the nation’s drug overdose crisis, the family behind OxyContin allegedly wanted to try a new venture: addiction treatment.

The plan was titled Project Tango, according to recent lawsuits against the Sackler family and its company Purdue Pharma and a New York Times story by Danny Hakim, Roni Caryn Rabin, and William K. Rashbaum. It was a scheme, in short, to profit from solving the same crisis that the Sacklers and Purdue helped cause.

“Pain treatment and addiction are naturally linked,” one of the documents said.

The document included a graphic of a funnel, with “pain treatment” at the top and “opioid addiction treatment” at the bottom — a tacit admission that as more people were funneled into pain treatment via OxyContin and other painkillers, more would need addiction care.